The Brilliant History of Color in Art

2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A microhistory: The Brilliant History of Color in Art  by Victoria Finlay

I found this book to be really fascinating. I’m a fan of interesting history, but I never thought I’d read a book about the history of colour!! In this book the author takes us through the history of colours and how they came to be. For example such colours as: manganese black, red ocher, Egyptian blue, Tyrian purple, cochineal, lead white, indigo and mauve…just to name a few. Each colour gets their own section, and within each section are anecdotes and historical details that you might not have known about these colours: how they were created, what made them special, etc. The timeline of this book ranges from the Ice Age, and the colours that early people used to create paintings on the insides of caves…to the Digital Age where artists are creating works of art on digital devices and are pushing the definition of what art is and can be.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves art, or colour, or the interesting history about how those two combine.

Red 5 gives this book a colourful 5/5!!




2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A cyberpunk book: PSI/Net  by Billy Dee Williams & Rob MacGregor

When I saw this prompt, my first question was, “what’s the definition of ‘cyberpunk’?” A simple search brought me this description from Wikipedia: “Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a ‘combination of lowlife and high tech’ featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.” Or, this definition: “science fiction featuring extensive human interaction with supercomputers and a punk ambiance.” (source here)

Needless to say, cyberpunk isn’t really a genre that I read from all that often. So, I searched on goodreads for books in this genre and stumbled upon this one. I must admit, as soon as I saw the name “Billy Dee Williams” I was sold on this one! As a Star Wars  fan how could I not choose a novel written by a SW alumnus? I found this to be a quick read and a somewhat interesting plot line. Not sure if I would have picked it up just to read on my own without having to fill a Reading Challenge prompt with it, but it was an okay read.

On November 12, 1995 the CIA issued a report admitting that military and intelligence services had used psychics for spying or “remote viewing”. Project Stargate, as it was called, is the premise of this nerve-jangling thriller. Former Air Force Major Trent Calloway just wants to forget about his past, especially the tragedy that changed his life when he was involved in a government remote viewing project. With his marriage ruined in the aftermath of his psychic spying, he wanders the Southwest, occasionally guiding river rafting tours. And then suddenly his painful past returns and threatens to damage him again. He finds out that he had been drugged during his remote viewing sessions and that the drug, now years later, is causing ever-increasing side-effects in himself and the other government psychic spies he worked with – and that their psychic abilities are still expanding at frightening rates. He realizes that the unknown drug he and the other psychic spies unwillingly took has bound them all together in a deadly psychic nexus, a “PSI net”, that has trapped Callaway, who must now fight for his life and his sanity as he struggles for the security of the United States and its people.” (Goodreads)

Red 5 gives this book a 2/5!!

The Great Alone

2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that’s published in 2018: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This book was such a GREAT read!!!! I listened to this one as an audiobook and enjoyed every minute of it! Such an interesting story of life in Alaska and how difficult it is at the best of times, not to mention with such a man as Ernt Allbright, who was dealing with his own demons. I loved the ending and how things turned out the way they did. I’d recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story!

“Alaska, 1974. Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed. For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival. Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.” (Goodreads)
Red 5 gives this book a 4/5!!

The Catcher in the Rye

2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with song lyrics in the title: The Catcher in the Rye  by J.D. Salinger

To find a book for this prompt, I read through a list of books with song lyrics in the title, and I came across this one. Apparently it’s a Guns n Roses song with the same title and that phrase is in the song, too. This is the second time I’ve read this book, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the last! I disliked it immensely the first time and then was talking to a few people who said it was one of their favourite books! Hearing that from two people made me wonder whether I had misjudged the book, or missed something while I was reading it. So, I added it back on my TBR list to read at some point. I was glad that I could use it for this Challenge and give it another chance.

So, to sum it up, Holden Caulfield leaves his prep school and spends three days in New York City…doing all sorts of things and talking to random people about ducks and such. No clue what’s going on in this book! LOL!

Suffice it to say, I disliked it just as much the second time reading through it as I did the first! I really couldn’t see the point in it and got nothing out of it! I’m just glad I’ve kept my promise to those people of re-reading it and giving it a second chance, and now it’s hopefully out of my life forever!

Red 5 gives this book a 0/5!!

Last Christmas In Paris

2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book tied to your ancestry: Last Christmas In Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

I chose this book for this prompt because I had heard great things about it, and because some of my ancestors came from France years and years and years ago.

“August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris. But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene? Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…” (Goodreads)

This was an excellent book! It’s an epistolary novel, written in letters between the characters. It’s beautifully written and is a lovely romantic story…all set in Britain and France during WWI. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good historical romance or epistolary novels.

Red 5 gives this book a 5/5!!


2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with characters who are twins: Restart  by Gordon Korman

Another Gordon Korman book, recommended to me by one of my kids. This one has a set of twins, sister and brother, as a few of the main characters.

“Chase’s memory just went out the window. Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.
Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.” (Goodreads)

This was a good read, for Junior Fiction; entertaining and funny! I remember reading Gordon Korman books when I was in school so it’s fun to read more by that author again!

Red 5 gives this book a 3/5!!

Treasure Island!!!

2018 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with an ugly cover: Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine

I combed the shelves of my library for a book with an ugly cover. I found many of them and I’m sorry to say the old adage might be slightly true: I judged a lot of those books by their covers and knew that they were never books that I would be interested in reading!

Then I stumbled upon this copy of Treasure Island!!! No, it’s not THAT Treasure Island…but it’s based around the classic novel. This version, by Sara Levine, includes three exclamation marks in the title, distinguishing itself from the classic. In this version, our heroine, an un-named anonymous heroine, decides that she’s going to base her life around the novel Treasure Island and be more like Jim Hawkins and the Core Values in the book: Boldness, Resolution, Independence and Horn-Blowing. (I didn’t realize she was nameless until I started writing this blog post and realized I couldn’t remember the name of the main character!)

“When a college graduate with a history of hapless jobs (ice cream scooper; gift wrapper; laziest ever part-time clerk at The Pet Library) reads Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, she is dumbstruck by the timid design of her life. When had she ever dreamed a scheme? When had she ever done a foolish, overbold act? When had she ever, like Jim Hawkins, broke from her friends, raced for the beach, stolen a boat, killed a man, and eliminated an obstacle that stood in the way of her getting a hunk of gold?

Convinced that Stevenson’s book is cosmically intended for her, she redesigns her life according to its Core Values: boldness, resolution, independence and horn-blowing. Accompanied by her mother, her sister, and a hostile Amazon parrot that refuses to follow the script, our heroine embarks on a domestic adventure more frightening than anything she’d originally planned.” (Goodreads)

I found this book mildly funny but I didn’t really like any of the characters. I think my favourite part was the Intervention near the end of the book. And by “favourite part” I mean it was tolerable at best.

This was not a favourite of mine and I wonder if the ugly cover mindset I had going into reading this book formed some of my opinion of the book as a whole? Not sure!

Red 5 gives this book 1/5!!!